Board of Directors


Barbara Brenner

Barbara Brenner is an Associate Professor of Preventive Medicine at Mount Sinai School of Medicine. She was, for 23 years, Director of Community Relations for the Mount Sinai Medical Center and served as Mount Sinai’s liaison to organizations and leaders in the Northern Manhattan communities for East and Central Harlem. Currently, she is a co-investigator of studies funded by the National Institutes of Health and the US Centers for Disease Control, testing interventions to prevent and control high rates of diabetes and stroke, as well as a long-term study assessing the relationships between environmental exposures (chemicals, diet, physical activity), obesity, and early puberty in girls. She established the first Farmers Market at Mount Sinai Medical Center and has been an advocate for the expansion of additional markets in the Harlem communities.

Dr. Brenner holds a Master’s degree in Social Work from Hunter College School of Social Work, and a Doctorate in Public Health form Columbia University. She is a fellow of the New York Academy of Medicine, and serves on the Board of Directors of several nonprofit community organizations.


Carolyn Zezima

Carolyn Zezima is the President of NYC Foodscape, a food systems and urban agriculture consulting business. For the past nine years, Ms. Zezima has led and worked with food and farming organizations in Chicago and New York to promote urban agriculture and healthy food systems. In 2006, she founded The Talking Farm, an urban farming and educational enterprise in Evanston, Illinois. She served as Director of Food and Nutrition Initiatives for Communities IMPACT Diabetes Center at Mount Sinai School of Medicine, addressing food and nutrition issues affecting diabetes disparities in low-income communities, and overseeing food initiatives such as the Save Half for Later portion control initiative and Food for Health Business Plan Competition. Ms. Zezima is a participant in AFT’s Farmland Advisors program, and serves on several food-related committees and boards, including Food Systems Network NYC, Partnership for a Healthier Manhattan, and NYC Food and Farm Bill Coalition. Ms. Zezima is a trained chef, having attended the California Culinary Academy, and has worked in restaurants, catering, food publishing, hunger organizations, and recipe development. She practiced law after graduating from Duke University Law School, and is a member of the New York, California, and Illinois Bar Associations.


Tata Traore-Rogers

Tata Traore-Rogers has an extensive background in nonprofit management and service delivery with a strong emphasis on women’s self-determination. Fluent in five languages and a former resident of France, Ivory Coast, Burkina Faso, and Senegal, Ms. Traore-Rogers brings a unique intercultural perspective to her work.

Ms. Traore-Rogers is currently the Executive Director of Turning Point Brooklyn where she leads the organization in programmatic excellence and financial sustainability.

Prior to joining Turning Point Brooklyn, Ms. Traore-Rogers served as Deputy Executive Director at the Astraea Foundation for five years, an organization dedicated to supporting groups working to secure human rights for LGBTQI people, and advancing gender, racial, economic and social justice worldwide. In partnership with Astraea’s Executive Director, Tata worked to develop and direct the Foundation’s strategic and operational plans.

For eight years, Ms. Traore-Rogers served as a Director in the Prevention Division of Harlem United Community AIDS Center. During her tenure there, she designed and managed innovative HIV prevention programs, including behavioral interventions focusing on risk-reduction and prevention support for immigrant communities, women of color, and LGBTQI populations. Additionally, she worked to improve service access for undocumented immigrant women, increasing cultural competency and bridging gaps within the HIV service landscape of New York City. Prior to Harlem United, Ms. Traore-Rogers worked at Montefiore Hospital, Pathways to Housing, and Neighborhood Coalition for Shelter, where she provided support and assistance for clients seeking mental health, homelessness, and domestic violence, sexual assault and child abuse services.


Rhina Valentin

Rhina Valentin “La Reina” is a Jane-of-all-trade in the arts and entertainment industry. Founder and CEO of La Reina Del Barrio, Inc. Rhina is a New York City born Latina of Puerto Rican descent sprinkled w with African, Indigenous and German Diaspora. She is a Mother, Television Personality, Comedienne, Writer, Dancer, Producer, Director, & Choreographer.  She studied Liberal Arts at Manhattan Community College and is a graduate of The William Esper Studio Conservatory master’s program. 

As a multiple award winning performance artist, Rhina has captured audiences with her humorous style, while tapping into realistic topics of Life. She has been featured on HBO in “Betty la Flaca” and in nationally syndicated commercials such as Bally’s & 1800-Flowers. For the past 8 years she has been the popular hostess as the infamous Cafe Con Leche Television personality for the award-winning talk show OPEN Friday on BronxNet TV. She also has a web-series named: “Rhina Gets Lean” currently in its third year that follows her steps exploring different methods to design a healthy lifestyle for her, her daughter and the Latino community.

Ms. Valentin has performed in some of New York’s most prestigious venues such as The World Famous Apollo, Lincoln Center Outdoors; the world famous Nuyorican Poets Café, the Comedy Store in LA and 100′s of off-Broadway venues throughout our beloved NYC. She has toured nationally to Universities throughout the United States.

Ms. Valentin is also a published author of “Breaking Grounds/Abriendo Caminos”; An Anthology of Puerto Rican Women writers. She currently serves as the beauty, brains and the bronze behind her rapidly growing media entertainment company La Reina Del Barrio, Inc.

With a love for her community, and the hope of providing the space of opportunity for individuals with an urban upbringing to be heard she hopes to make a difference in our society and the World!


Jennise N. Hall currently serves as the Interim CFO at Inwood House, where she provides financial leadership in the areas of cash and grants management. Previously, she was the Director of Finance at Turning Point, where she oversaw budget plans and worked closely with the executive management team to navigate a leadership transition that led to the stability of the organization. Ms. Hall is an expert in non-profit financial management and in helping organizations to develop sustainable budget plans and practices. She has over 10 years of experience in the industry helping non-profits build their fiscal infrastructure.

Ms. Hall graduated from Babson College in Wellesley, Mass. with a BS in Accounting/Business and recently passed the NYS Certified Public Accountant examination. 

Maria Douvas Orme

Maria Douvas Orme is a Managing Director in Morgan Stanley’s Legal & Compliance Division. She runs the legal group that covers Morgan Stanley’s Fixed Income Division, which is the firm’s global institutional sales and trading business that is comprised of interest rates (US treasuries, agencies, sovereign bonds, interest rate swaps, TBAs, and structured notes), credit (investment grade, high yield, distressed, and credit default swaps), foreign exchange, emerging markets, financing (repossessions and reverse repossessions), and securitized products. She represents Morgan Stanley on a number of industry committees, including at ISDA (the International Swap Dealers Association) and on the Financial Markets Lawyers Group, which is sponsored by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and sets best practices in the fixed income market with special emphasis on foreign exchange. She has been with Morgan Stanley since 2004. Prior to that, she was an Assistant General Counsel of AIG Trading Group Inc., a swap dealing subsidiary of American International Group Inc., and an associate at Stroock & Stroock & Lavan and Morgan Lewis & Bockius. She graduated with honors from Duke University with a BA in Economics (summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa) and a JD from Duke University School of Law.

Ryan Rugg-Shapiro

Ryan Rugg-Shaprio is currently an Executive Director at Morgan Stanley in New York. She is responsible for covering institutional municipal accounts with multibillion assets under management; providing them with research, strategic ideas and various trading opportunities.

She is also the Co-Head of the Sophomore Diversity Program within FID, which is aimed at increasing the female talent pool within the trading floor environment. To help achieve these goals she has created a series of educational programs in response to her own experiences and the feedback from women across the division. Ryan has done extensive fundraising within the philanthropic community. She was a member of the Project for Ghana at JP Morgan Chase which provided educational and healthcare opportunities for the children of Ghana and their parents. She has also been involved in fundraising for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, Multiple Sclerosis Society and Save the children to name a few. Ryan has been on the Committee Co-Host for Harvest Home’s Savor the Season annual fundraiser since 2013.

Ryan is a graduate of George Washington University with a BBA in Finance and Management Information Systems.